What is YouTube Gaming, the Latest Twitch Rival?

By Gary Cutlack on at

YouTube wants in on the fact that video games are now more mainstream and commonly accepted as a thing normal people do than ever, with its YouTube Gaming portal set to launch today to gather players together in front of one unskippable pre-roll advert happy new live-streaming community.

Here's what we know about the Ubisoft ad money play innovative gaming live stream aggregator plan so far.

How Does YouTube Gaming Work? 

According to current rumour ahead of its actual big reveal, YouTube Gaming will offer a similar service to that offered by gaming service Twitch, one that lets users set up sessions to stream the playing of games and also search for and watch live streams being played by others. It's a cheap way of seeing what new games are like without actually paying for them, or just watching games as if they're television -- one of the most boring possible pursuits.

Google described its plan earlier this year, saying its wants to index the entire gaming universe of new and old, creating a hub for each title. It said that: "...more than 25,000 games will each have their own page, a single place for all the best videos and live streams about that title."

As well as subscribing to feeds in the usual YouTube manner there is to be a "collection" area where you build your own list of owned games and ones you're interested in hearing about, so you'll be notified when someone else uploads a complete version of the Delta Mix-e-load system, should Delta be in your collection.

There's also a useful DVR-style feature that leverages Google's data warehousing skills to let users buffer the last four hours of content, meaning you could scroll back through the timeline of someone's Dota 2 session and watch it all again. You try to stop me.

What Does It Look Like To The Cynical Observer? 

Well, the cynical observer might think YouTube has seen all the advertising money and hush-hush promotional cash winging its way toward the likes of PewDiePie and his enthusiastic ilk of gaming bloggers who shout into microphones while playing shit mobile games, and decided it wants to somehow increase its share of this by creating a massive collection of hubs to sell adverts around.

You can bet there will be numerous partners, channels, curated playlists, ad boxes and the like, promoting whatever Assassin's Creed is coming out next, as it's these big publisher bucks YouTube is presumably after. But we'd never by so cynical as to suggest that's the only reason. There are other reasons too, like wanting to annihilate Twitch and... steal its advertising money.

But It Won't Say That, Will It?

Oh no, it'll say the site is some sort of empowering and welcoming umbrella erected over the heads of like minded people who can create and share content that expresses their innermost feelings via the medium of a [current year +1] FIFA unboxing video. The ad money gushing in from Electronic Arts will just be a fortunate side effect of it all.

Isn't It Just What YouTube Already Does? 

Nearly, although it'll arrive alongside some changes to YouTube's live video streaming system, like the removal of the need to schedule events in advance and one simple link to spam out to social networks in the hope someone might want to watch you umming and ahhing your way through a crap game that came out a month ago.

When Does YouTube Gaming Launch? 

Today, August 26, when Google should launch the service alongside a companion app to make sharing, socialising, browsing and managing accounts more straightforward from iOS and Android devices. [YouTube Gaming]